I am calm now...or at least calmer, than I had been an hour ago. Deep breaths, meditation, positive thinking... it helps a bit to look at the world and still love it, though companies like Caribbean Cruise Line make it quite hard sometimes. My story is still in development and I still do not know how it will end, but I
felt that I should warn fellow travelers - if Caribbean Cruise Line did it to me, there is a good chance they do it on a regular basis and same mishap (to say the very least) may as well happen to anybody.
"So, what is the story?!" - you wonder. It start with a very simple statement. WE Love To Travel! When
I say WE, I mean my wife, myself and our two daughters 9 and 12 years old. We travel at a slightest provocation. We travel wide and long, the further and the more exotic - the better! We do not like
cruise ships, though. We tolerate them only as a mean of transportation. So, when a guy call my wife's
cellphone about a year ago and offered a "unbeatable deal on Caribbean Cruise", she refused at first. Then she was told that we do not stay on-board longer than needed to reach Caribbean location. On the island we would stay in an all-inclusive resort for four days and board the ship only to sail back to Florida. We liked the idea and paid a deposit.
Somehow life got busy and we did not book our trip. One year later we received a phone call from
Caribbean Cruise Line and were told that we must upgrade our reservation or it will be lost because we did not book within a year from deposit. So, we did. We paid the balance and upgraded to a better outside view cabin. Couple of months passed and we got our plans for end of summer sorted out, call Caribbean Cruise Line and booked our trip for September 2013. Upon receiving confirmation of our booked dates over the phone from agent Serena we found and booked airline tickets from New Jersey to Ft. Lauderdale.
We also arranged for vacation time at work and school for kids. We decided to use another of our previously booked vacations in Florida back-to-back with this one and booked another resort through our timeshare. Everything looked good.
We were all excited about vacation to come in few months ( we now have March 30 on calendar and our vacation may or may not be in September, in 6 months!). Our excitement did not live very long. One week after we booked our dates with Caribbean Cruise Line we received a postcard (!). Not a phone call, not email, even though they did have all our contact information and could at least make an effort of notifying us of the trouble with our booking. So, the postcard said that we have to call reservation department
and re-book... That's a surprise!
So, I call and speak with an agent Charlene, who at first does not understand why I call. Then she informs me that I cannot go to their all-inclusive island resort in September, because it is all booked, no more room for me and my family. That's 6 months in advance... Gee... Must be one of the best places on earth, one may say.
Charlene says that I can go in October, though, no problem... I try to explain to Charlene, that, yes, this is a problem, since I have four airline tickets booked, car rental booked and my timeshare resort booked. How come that I got my dates confirmed on the phone with Serena a week earlier? Why this did not come up same day or at least next day? Why did it take their company a week and a $0.33 postcard to let me know that I have trouble with my dates? On top of that, suddenly, I am informed that there is no mention of
my daughters in their documents... According to "their documents" there are only two people will travel - my wife and myself. We always travel together and always book accommodations and places for four
people. And that was the same with current company, but somehow they " lost" any and all information,
pertaining to our kids traveling with us.
Obviously, I got quite upset and asked to speak with supervisor. After few long minutes of waiting I got
on-line Melvin. Melvin from the start, using very confident, offical and professional voice informed me that I have only two options, SIR! One option was to travel in October instead of September. Which could be an option, if their company cared enough to let me know about booking trouble on the day of the booking or at least next day and not one week later. Second option was to travel on our reserved dates but stay at their second resort, which was not all-inclusive. I asked if there were any more options. Melvin said NO, there were no other options available to me. I asked if their company will offer me any refund if I agree to stay in their non-all-inclusive resort on the island after paying for all-inclusive. Melvin said that NO, no refund will be offered.
I said that I have another option - to travel on my booked dates, arrive to the island and take their company to court, if I am not provided accommodation at the resort for which I paid. Melvin replied shortly: "Good luck with that, Sir!" and dropped the line... Bravo, Melvin! Very professional attitude and behavior -
drop a line on a pissed off customer. Please, Melvin, do not take it as a compliment. Just to be sure... this was sarcasm. So far I encountered only luck of professionalism dealing on the phone with several people at Caribbean Cruise Line.
I tried to call three more times and speak with Melvin again, but... I bet it could be easier for me to get president Obama on the phone. Melvin "was not available". When I said to "the next available agent", that Caribbean Cruise Line successfully ruined my day and, possibly, so much anticipated vacation in
September and that I would like to see if I can get full refund for my cruise, I was given customer service phone number and told to call them about refund. One department screws up and send me to fight another team... The usual trick. I think, I will call them tomorrow, but I also think I pretty much know what I
will hear and that's most likely will not be an apology and a speedy full refund of my money...